The new year will be starting in just a week and a half which means we are at the time of year where people are reflecting on the past year and making resolutions for the future. Did you set resolutions last year? How did you do with keeping them? Many times we set a resolution or goal for New Years and we make a big punch to reach it in the month of January and then our efforts slowly fizzle out. Or we write them down on a piece of paper that we never look at again until a year later when its time to set a new set of goals. Then were run around all year feeling super busy but with no direction and therefore accomplishing far less than we could.
Goal setting is super important. It gives us direction and focus, it provides motivation, and can help us organize and prioritize. Now I don't mean that getting organized has to be the goal you set, although it could be, but that setting goals no matter what they are can help you become more organized and focused. Since I would like you to be successful in your goal setting, let's break down my process for setting goals.
The Big Three
My first step in setting goals for the year is to brainstorm. Take 10 minutes to write down everything you want to accomplish. This can be in all aspects of life. Really just dump it all out there. Don't stop to think about it just get them all out. Once you are done, then go back and read through your list. Pick out the big 3. These should be major goals. Big enough to scare you a little bit. Big enough that you don't want to tell people because you are nervous about putting it out there. But, not so big that they are impossible.
One of my big goals is to start making an income from my blog. I would like to be able to devote more time to blogging and creation, but in order to do that, it needs to provide some amount of income. Another goal is to take a family vacation. Our last big vacation that wasn't connected to some other responsibility was our honeymoon, before kids. Every trip has been connected to another event or activity. Our goal this year is to raise the funds to actually have a no responsibilities vacation. We had wanted to take a trip last year, but the additional expenses of Hailey's hypothyroidism prevented that from happening. So, a trip is a major goal for us this year. Goal #3 for us to to purchase a new home. Our house is just too small for a family of 4 and when we moved there kids seemed super far off. Now we need more space and a family friendly area.
While are big 3 will be our main goals for the year, it's important to set goals for all aspects of our lives. The following are some of the categories for which you may want to set goals. I also included some examples of goals for each category.
- Personal Growth:
- Read x number of books this year
- Pamper yourself with mani, or pedi, or hair cut once a month
- Complete graduate school
- Go on a family road trip
- Visit family you don't see often
- Have a monthly family game night
- Significant Other/Spouse
- Have a date night twice a month
- Take a class about growing your marriage
- Pay off credit cards
- Put x dollars into the kids' college funds
- Exercise 5 days a week
- Eat clean
- Drink 8 glasses of water daily
- Go out with friends at least once a month
- Make an effort to reach out to friends regularly
- Home Improvement
- Organize the garage
- Replace the couch
Notice how these are much smaller goals that support our life but don't take focus away from our major goals. This is key. Our big goals should be our focus for the year, but they shouldn't be at a detriment to the other areas in our life.
Make a Plan
This is the last and often forgotten step in the goal setting process. While it is important to set goals, it is just as important to break down how you will achieve them. Without a plan, the time will pass and nothing will get done. For things like 2 date nights a month, starting talking to your spouse now about what you want to do and when. Get things in your calendar ASAP. Same thing for nights out with friends or family game nights. People's schedules fill up quickly, so set dates as far in advance as possible.
For financial goals, break them down. If you want to pay off credit cards, determine which card you should pay off first and break down how much you need to pay each month to pay it off. Similarly, if your goal is a vacation, determine how much the vacation will cost and when you would like to take it. Then break down the cost over the months leading up to it.
For bigger, more complicated goals break them down into quarterly goals, then monthly goals and then weekly goals. If I want to monetize my blog, I might set a 1st quarter goal of taking 3 courses and implementing them. I might spend another quarter on product creation and another quarter on expanding my reach. Then I can break down these quarterly goals by month and week until the big goal becomes accomplishable.
Another important part of your goal setting plan is to make time to evaluate your goals. Things change and sometimes your goals change too. As I said earlier, last year's goal was a vacation, but a change in circumstances rendered that impossible. So I ended last year with a new goal and push the vacation to this year. We need to push toward our goals but also adapt to circumstances.
I hope this helps you in your goal setting for the coming year. What are your goals for 2017? Share them in the comments. Let's help each other reach our goals!